The first moderator was Dick Schaap, an on-air reporter, writer and analyst, at home in any sport, from boxing to the big four and pretty much any Olympic event. His style was laid back, setting the topics and keeping the other three panelists involved, seldom offering any opinion or offering an argument to another person's point. When he passed away after 12 years, I didn't think the show would even continue, much less be as entertaining.
I was wrong. John Saunders followed in the classy tradition that Schaap had started. Saunders offered his own opinion a little more often and kept the humor that Dick Schapp was noted for. John led the panel for 16 years until his untimely death. Mike Lupica took over and I expected a continuation of the quality that Schaap and Saunders had instituted.
I was wrong again. Lupica is very opinionated and I often referred to him as a "conversational bully." He injected his opinion on every subject and made sure he occupied as much of the air time as he could. When he was just a panelist, I appreciated the passion he brought to the show but I didn't realize how much both Schaap and Saunders had controlled him. Without that control, it became "The Mike Lupica Show," to the detriment of the quality of the program.
I read an article that claimed that Lupica insisted on taking over the program after Saunders and irritated both the producer and other guest panelists to the point that a number of them refused to do the show and the decision was made to cancel the show, with Lupica's attitude having a lot to do with this decision. As I say, it was one article and one writers opinion but I did see signs of that being the case. At any rate, I will miss the show.
For those of you who don't watch it, I will try to find a video of Mitch Album's final "Parting Shot," a poem he wrote saying goodbye to the show.
Who are those guys?
I refer to the 2017 edition of the NY Yankees. They are out-performing their pre-season predictions by so much that no one can understand it. The heroes are everywhere. 5 players of the regular lineup are hitting over .300, with Starlin Castro leading the league at .381. Aaron Judge has hit a league leading 13 home runs. The Yanks three outfielders, Gardner, Ellsbury and Judge are playing so well that it's impossible for anyone to break into that trio. But wait, with Ellsbury slightly injured, here comes Aaron Hicks hitting over .340 with 6 home runs. How do you put him on the bench? It's a very nice problem to have.
NY will complete a three game series against the Cubs tonight. Luis Severino, a pitcher with possibly the best skills on the pitching staff will be on the mound tonight. With the high level of confidence that the team has and Severino on the mound, the Cubs will have their work cut out for themselves. Make no mistake, they are capable.
I guess I'm just tired
It seems that getting deep into the playoffs isn't all flowers and candy. Teams that make it to the World Series have a lot of problems the following year, mostly with the pitching staff. If they don't get hurt, they don't seem to pitch well. The cubs are having a lot of problems with their starting pitchers and the vaunted Mets staff has fallen on hard times. Noah Syndergaard is on the DL and may be done for the year, Matt Harvey, who has a poor conditioning record, has been suspended for 4 games for breaking some unnamed club rule. The team has a staff era of just under 5.00.
The Cub pitchers aren't performing all that well, either. John Lackey has an ERA of 5.14 and the staff ERA is over 4.00. I don't think this will stop anyone for trying to get to the World Series.
Just my luck
For the last three years, my sister-in-law and I have had a friendly bet on our respective teams; me for the Yanks, Pauline goes with the Dodgers. It's not much - $10 gift certificate to McDonald s. This year, she took pity on me and we didn't bet and the Yanks are going great. Where's Jimmy The Greek when you need him?
They let my favorite reporter go
ESPN fired 100 employees to curb costs over losing some 2 million subscribers. Wait till the remaining subscribers find out one of those let go was Jamee Sire.
***THEY SAID IT***
"Mets ace Noah Syndergaard is out with a torn lat muscle after refusing an MRI days earlier for a hurt bicep. Figures a guy named Noah waits for his injuries to come in twos." -- RJ Currie
"Wouldn’t you like to be a fly on the cabin wall when United Airlines discovers that its flight full of MMA fighters is overbooked? -- Dwight Perry
"It took the NFL 52,129 tries to come up with its next NFL schedule. Apparently everyone wanted to play Cleveland twice." -- Cam Hutchinson
"The Kentucky Derby - fastest 2 minutes in sports. Entire race takes about as long as it takes The Dodgers Pedro Baez to throw a pitch." -- Janice Hough
" Si.com profiled the , Johanna Quaas, who is 92. And I thought Derek Jeter stuck around too long." -- Brad Dickson
"Bengals cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones got into an altercation with a reporter at a news conference in Cincinnati:. Been a rough week for Adam. Earlier this week he beat-up his anger-management therapist." -- Alex Kaseberg
"I finally have something in common with Johnny Manziel, Colin Kaepernick and Tim Tebow. If you see us at a football game, it’s because we got in with a ticket." -- TC Chong
"Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes drew a four-game suspension for throwing at the Orioles’ Manny Machado. If that was the rule in the old days, Don Drysdale and Bob Gibson wouldn’t have had more than three starts in a season." -- Jim Barach
"LaVar Ball’s Big Baller Brand has just released their Lonzo Ball signature first shoe – “ZO2: Prime.” for $495, about 3 times the price of many NBA stars’ shoes from Nike, Adidas etc. So does the shoe come with a shirt for your significant other saying “I’m with stupid?" -- Janice Hough
"The NY Knicks are floundering and Phil Jackson is starting to look more and more like former Knicks president Isiah Thomas without the sexual-harassment charges." -- Mike Bianchi
"Los Angeles has bid to host the 2024 Olympics. So if you want to attend one of the events in L.A., you should get on the freeway now." -- Conan O'Brien
"Many WTA players protested Maria Sharapova going directly from a doping suspension into Stuttgart's main draw after a wild card was granted. Or should I say grunted?" -- RJ Currie
" A minor leaguer with Class A South Bend to toss a beach ball back over the outfield fence. I think I know why he’s in Class A." -- Brad Dickson
My wife was watching the World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship. “Because a woman usually gets in the last shot?” I asked. “No,” she said. “To see a man do his share of sweeping." -- RJ Currie